Not sure what to do about 9 year old and "playing up" in baseball - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 10-10-2012, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am at a loss about what to do with my 9 year old and baseball. At this point in time - he seems to be a bit ahead of his peers.  Last year, our league asked that he play on an 8U Travel Team because they didn't think it was appropriate for him to play in the recreational league.  He did that, did well and enjoyed it, but the time and expense do not work for our family this year.

 

So I signed him back up for rec and got a call he would be on a 10 & 11 year old team.  My husband and I went back and forth and let him try it and he has a really nice coach and is having fun.

 

After his game this weekend - got a call that some coaches have petioned he goes up to the next age level (11 & 12 year olds) in the spring because he throws too fast and it isn't safe/fair. WTH!!! He just turned 9 and will be 9 for the whole season - he doesn't belong with 12 year olds socially.  He LOVES BASEBALL - throws a ball up in the air 24/7

What would you do?  I haven't been on MDC in awhile, but always got such good advice here when I had littles :)

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#2 of 7 Old 10-10-2012, 06:27 AM
 
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My dh runs a travel baseball team.  I'll have him read this and see what he would do.  

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#3 of 7 Old 10-10-2012, 06:49 AM
 
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I have several (conflicting) thoughts, so this may not be much help! 

 

1) The injury factor is very real. I have seen children who advanced quickly hurt other players unintentionally because their throw is too hard for the players to catch. I once saw my brother's best friend sobbing because he'd accidentally injured another of their friends with a throw. It's not fun on either side. The argument is very real, and if the coaches are concerned about injury, then I would take that into consideration. 

 

2) As the parent of exceptionally gifted (academically) children, the social argument is less compelling to me. He will stick out either place he goes. If he's that good, he'll be the outcast on a team of 9-year-olds because they aren't competing at the same level. It does actually get annoying to the other kids on your own team. If he moves up, then he's not at the same place developmentally. I would remove the social aspect because I don't think it's a deciding factor either way.

 

3) My biggest concern, and I think how this plays out depends on your son's personality, is whether he will get an inflated ego from this moving up - and how he will feel if the other players even out. Archie Manning talks at length in a few interviews I've seen and the book he did about boys who just grow quickly. One year they're awesome, scouts are stopping by, and the next year, other boys have a growth spurt. His point was that he thinks sports are too competitive too early because so much of it at pre-pubescent (and even early teens) is about physical development and growth spurts. So I would consider how this may play out for your family long-term as well.

 

4) There is a middle ground between a rec-league team and a travel team of older boys. There are traveling or competitive 9/10 year old teams, and that may make more sense for your family even if it means more driving.


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#4 of 7 Old 10-10-2012, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your thoughts. I completely agree that this is potentially a passing phase...I have a 12 year old who has always been a good rec player, played on some summer all star tournament teams, and is now for the first time playing 13U travel whereas some kids who have devoted their childhood to travel ball did not make the team. That was actually part of our decision to not have our 9 year old play rec this year - we are trying to keep it in balance/perspective and not too competitive for him though of my 3 kids he is the least likely to develop an ego.

 

I too worry about injuries - a few weeks ago he hit a batter with a pitch and my son felt terrible even though the kid was not actually injured.  Though my husband pointed out that at any age pitchers hit batters so it it doesn't matter if he is playing with 10 year old or 12 year olds - it is going to happen if he pitches. 

 

I don't know. I just want him to have fun and be happy. He is very upset about the petition because he thinks that the other coaches "don't like him". Our coach just thinks it is because they are the team that won last year and then don't want to have to play against him this spring. I really don't know.

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#5 of 7 Old 10-10-2012, 08:24 AM
 
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Where he belongs socially, IMO, doesn't matter when it comes to sports. If he has the skills to play up and meets the physical requirements - I would have him play up.

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#6 of 7 Old 10-10-2012, 09:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildmonkeys View Post

 

So I signed him back up for rec and got a call he would be on a 10 & 11 year old team.  My husband and I went back and forth and let him try it and he has a really nice coach and is having fun.

 

After his game this weekend - got a call that some coaches have petioned he goes up to the next age level (11 & 12 year olds) in the spring because he throws too fast and it isn't safe/fair. 

 

Some other coaches are trying to make this decision for you? 

 

What is his coach's advice and do you trust him? His current coach may not want to lose a star player who is helping win games, so his advice might not be reliable. If you trust that he's got your son's best interests at heart, then I'd be inclined to listen to what he says about the situation. I'd also give strong consideration to your son's preference, once you've discussed the benefits and disadvantages. There are some benefits he may not have considered. Playing with other kids of similar athletic ability will likely help him develop his own game and it may be more enjoyable for him too. 

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#7 of 7 Old 10-12-2012, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I do trust his current coach (who wouldn't be his coach in the spring anyway because fall baseball and spring baseball are not connected where we live) and he feels bad for DS and thinks it is extreme.  My husband has also coached in the League for years (and is an assistant coach right now) and we have NEVER heard of them forcing a kid to play up 2 age groups - he was fine with the one and it seemed fair.

 

Anyway, because of all of this....we will probably have him tryout for travel in the spring of 2014, but the travel teams are already picked/practicing for this upcoming spring so it isn't an option (plus we couldn't afford the travel schedule that the current 9U Coach has scheduled - 6 out of state tournaments).

 

I think we are leaning towards having him play up one division, but taking this spring off of pitching (as that seems to be the source of the petition which is also crazy because our league rules only allow a kids to pitch a max of two innings a game anyway)...it doesn't really seem fair, but seems the best solution.  Mamalisa - can you ask your husband if that seems logical???

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